Although it seems like we’ve been here before, nearly a decade ago, we’re back with news of council-backed plans for a trail centre building to support the rocky trails at Lee Quarry in Lancashire, along with work to develop the the quarry trails again. The last lot of plans appeared to get trounced by the days of austerity, but it seems that there is indeed new enthusiasm for Lee Quarry trails and a corresponding trail centre from Rossendale Council.
We tracked down Megan Eastwood from Rossendale Council who was more than happy to tell us about some of the grand plans that Rossendale has for previously struggling small towns like Bacup that sit adjacent to Lee Quarry. As well as publishing an ‘Invitation to submit and expression of interest‘ in running a visitor and cycling centre based at the Lee Quarry trails, the council has published a ten-year strategy for the area which suggest that it is going big on the ‘outdoor’ and ‘lifestyle’ angles and has some major investment put to one side to kick start that idea.
Obviously, being a council plan, there’s a lot of long term planning, so don’t expect any dramatic changes overnight. There are, however, tenders out for architects and plans for new businesses and new buildings in the former wasteland/scary place at the bottom of the track up to the quarry. There has been new redevelopment in the Futures Park area, with a large manufacturing plant and smart new offices going into the end of the wasteland area at the end of the car-park.
There are already signs of renewed council interest, with old railway tunnels being reopened as part of the East Lancashire Cycleway nearby, taking cyclists away from the busy main road.
As we say, it’s early days in the creation of a visitor and cycle hub and in the redevelopment of the Lee Quarry trails, but there does seem to be a renewed interest from the council in getting people outdoors and a realisation that what it already has is pretty good – it just needs some love.
We’ll be bringing you news of the developments as they happen, and as the nearest international mountain bike magazine to the trails, we’re bound to get roped into things there, one way or another, so stay tuned. And if you have any suggestions about the future of the trails and the area, we know that (for once) the council is listening very intently, so leave a comment!
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